Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Gnocchi brings back some good memories for me. About 8 years ago my sister and I decided to have a girls weekend in Las Vegas. It was one of the most memorable weekends of my life. We spent our time being silly and eating the best food ever. For one brunch we stopped at this little Italian restaurant by our hotel where my sister decided to order gnocchi because she had always wanted to try it. It was literally one of the best things I have ever eaten. Ever since then I became obsessed with ordering gnocchi every place I could and never could find anything that tasted quite as good as that. This is when I turned to trying to find a good recipe to use at home. I used to use the boxed kind that you find next to the pasta in the grocery store. It's alright in a pinch but I highly recommend taking the extra time to make it from scratch. It really isn't that hard, just a little time consuming, but I promise it's worth it.

I know it looks like a lot of steps but it really isn't, just descriptive. Down in my side notes I have directions on how to store your homemade gnocchi for a future use.

2 1/2 lbs. of potato, approx. 4 lg. potatoes or 6 sm. potatoes*
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup or more for working dough
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg

Optional: to make cheese potato gnocchi you can add 1/2 cup ricotta, and 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

*General rule of thumb: 1 medium-sized potato per serving or person. For every potato, you want to use approximately 1/2 cup of flour.

1. Boil potatoes: In a large pot with just enough water to cover them, boil potatoes with their skins on. The skin helps the potato not too absorb access water. (Dry potatoes are good. Water potatoes are bad.) Boil for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Over-boiling will cause potatoes to become mushy and too wet.

2. Drain well: Remove potatoes and drain well. Allow them to cool in a colander or over cheesecloth.

3. Peel potatoes: Peel boiled potatoes, removing any brown spots that might be below the skin.

4. Rice potatoes: Using a potato ricer, rice peeled potatoes. If they appear watery at this point, allow them to rest on a dishtowel to absorb excess water.

5. The foundation: Mound riced potato on the middle of a wooden board or a clean, dry countertop. Top with flour.

6. Salt: Sprinkle with salt.

7. Make a well: Using your hands, scoop out the center of your mound.

8. Add egg: Break egg into the center of the well. Beat the egg with a fork.
*This is where you would add the cheese for the cheese version.

9. Incorporate ingredients: Using the fork, slowly start to pull in flour and potato to mix ingredients.

10. Begin to form: Use your hands to combine ingredients, beginning to form the dough

11. Knead dough: Pull together ingredients and knead to form dough. Be careful not to over-knead. Be weary of adding flour at this point. Too much flour will give you hard gnocchi. The secret to perfect gnocchi: Knead just enough for the dough to come together. Dough should have a loose airy texture, not gooey or dense.

12. Shape dough: Shape dough into a long, wide rectangle for cutting.

13. Cut dough: Cut dough into 8-10 pieces, about 4 inches long.

14. Roll into ropes: Roll each piece by gently pushing with fingers spread. The goal is to make an evenly-distributed rope. For shorter, heavier gnocchi, roll dough into thick ropes and cut into 1-inch pieces. For thinner gnocchi, roll longer ropes.

15. Cut dough ropes: Using a pastry cutter or non-serrated knife, cut dough ropes into 1-inch pieces.

16. Keep floured: To prevent sticking, keep gnocchi in a cool area. Toss them with extra flour while they are waiting to be cooked or frozen.

17. To cook: Gently shake away any excess flour and place finished gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook gnocchi until they float to the top, about 2-4 minutes. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon, drain very well. Toss them in a saucepan with your favorite sauce and cook together for about 2 minutes. Do not wait longer than 45 minutes to cook gnocchi or they will begin to stick to each other.

18. Serve with your favorite sauce or just with cheese on top. I will share my all time favorite sauce recipe tomorrow. Some of my favorites are a good red sauce, pesto, and sage browned butter.

**Randi's Side Notes**
~ If you want to add ridges so that the sauce sticks better to it simply take each piece and roll on a fork (I usually don't do this because it's extra work)
~ There are a couple of ways that you can make these ahead of time and store them for a faster future use. I typically like to double this recipe and freeze the second batch so that I have a quick meal for another time.
To Freeze: Arrange gnocchi on a baking sheet with excess flour to keep from sticking. Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until they are completely frozen. Once they are frozen, remove from pan and store until you are ready to cook. Do not thaw gnocchi. Cook frozen gnocchi in boiling water. Gnocchi can be frozen for up to 2 months.

If you want to cook and refrigerate: Follow the cooking instructions above. Once cooked, gently remove gnocchi and place into a bowl of ice cold water (ice bath) to cool down. Drain well and toss lightly with a touch of olive oil to prevent sticking. Store in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve, simply toss gnocchi with warmed sauce in saucepan.

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